The time has finally arrived; it is officially playoff time in the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Arizona Rattlers will be going up against the Nebraska Danger in the Intense Conference Championship this Saturday in Phoenix. Arizona comes into this game with momentum, having ended their regular season on an eight game win streak.
The Rattlers were the only team going into week 18 that had clinched a playoff spot, which led to an interesting final week of the season. The Nebraska Danger clinched their spot in the Intense Conference with their win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks. In the United Conference, a Nighthawks loss meant that both the Iowa Barnstormers and Sioux Falls Storm would be in the playoffs. The Storm came away with a 45-24 victory over the Barnstormers this past week, and they will now play at home against Iowa on Saturday in the United Conference Championship.
This will be the third game between Arizona and Nebraska this season. The Rattlers have won the first two. The first matchup was a close one in Nebraska. Arizona came away with a 39-36 victory, after kicker Sawyer Petre made a 20-yard field goal with only two seconds left. The second game was just a few weeks ago in Phoenix. The Rattlers won by a score of 43-33, and wide receiver Antonio Vaughan had a stand out game, going for 106 yards and two touchdowns on just five catches.
This week, the Rattlers rushing attack jumped ahead of Sioux Falls, and they now have the top ranked running game in the league. Running back Darrell Monroe still leads the league in yards per game with 55.5. On top of that, he has gone for 18 touchdowns on the ground. Anthony Amos has been another offensive star for the Rattlers this season. Heading into the playoffs he is tied for fourth in the league with 19 receiving touchdowns.
Offensively for the Danger, they have found recent success in their new quarterback Drew Powell. The conference championship will be only his fifth game playing this year. Through his four regular season games thus far, Powell has totaled 573 yards through the air and 334 yards on the ground. The quarterback has racked up 19 total touchdowns, 13 of those came from using his legs. Powell was on the field the last time the Rattlers played the Danger, and he completed nine passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for one touchdown and 81 yards on the ground.
The Arizona defense has played a major factor in the eight game winning streak heading into the playoffs. They have only given up more than 35 points once during that time, and also recorded 19 sacks. In their last two of games, defensive back Allen Chapman has not been shy about getting his hand on the ball. He recorded three interceptions, giving him eight on the season, and also had six pass breakups in those games as well.
Nebraska is right up there with the Rattlers, having 27 sacks during the regular season. Defensive lineman Eze Obiora leads the team in that category with 8.5. Defensive back Trey Wafford has been all over the field for the Danger this season. Wafford has six tackles for a loss, and also the second most tackles in the league with 107.5. He also has 12 pass break ups.
This Intense Conference Championship game is this Saturday, June 24th at 6:00 p.m. PDT. The game will be played at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. It will also be broadcasted on a special Fox Sports Arizona Rattlers Channel. DirecTV customers can find the game on channel 686-2. DISH Network customers can see the action on 449 (SD), 9519 (HD), or on the Hopper at 412-37. The game will also streamed live on YouTube and the Fox Sports Go App, and Simulcast on 1580 The Fanatic and 99.3 FM.